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US Childhood Obesity Still on the Rise, New Study Shows

US Childhood Obesity Still on the Rise, New Study Shows

"About four years ago, there was evidence of a decline in obesity in preschoolers", said Asheley Cockrell Skinner, the study's lead author and an associate professor of population health sciences at Duke University, in a released statement.

"Obesity in the youngest group is a concern", Skinner says, "because when obesity starts younger, most of these children continue to have obesity throughout childhood and into adulthood".

"Right now, I am trying to use smoking cessation during pregnancy as one strategy to reduce rapid infant weight gain and later childhood obesity", said Wen.

That good news came on the heels of former First Lady Michelle Obama's launch of the Let's Move campaign, among other efforts created to encourage the nation's youth to eat healthier foods and exercise more.

But in December of previous year, the United States Department of Agriculture announced that it would relax the school lunch guidelines she championed - requiring more fresh fruits and vegetables and low-sugar dining options - in favor of new rules that would allow sweetened milk and sodium rich entrees. Children who weren't breastfed were 50 percent more likely to be obese, the study also found.

News reports from the past few years stating that the United States had "turned a corner" on childhood obesity may have been a bit too jubilant, suggests a new study.

Data shows that percentage of children aged 2 to 19 years old who are obese increased from 14% in 1999 to 18.5% in 2015 and 2016.

In 1999, according to this survey, more than a quarter - about 29 percent - of children ages 2 to 19 were overweight.

The Duke report comes at the same time that a United Kingdom study deemed millennials the "fattest" generation. Taken together, the two reports describe an worldwide epidemic far from subsiding among younger generations. That group went from being nine percent obese in 1999 to 14 percent by 2016 - almost double the rate reported 18 years prior.

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In the new study, researchers evaluated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data culled from a nationally representative sample of more than 3,000 children. Hispanic and black children, especially, were found to be more at risk for obesity, consistent with previous reports.

Despite awareness campaigns, American children are still obese.

They found that childhood obesity has increased since 1999, with recent spikes in class 1 obesity among children ages 2 to 5, and in the overweight category among females ages 16 to 19.

The news comes after years of efforts to encourage healthy eating, exercise and outdoor play among kids.

But the survey doesn't follow the same students over time, so researchers can't say that specific children are developing obesity.

African American and Hispanic children are still at the greatest risk of obesity, with consistently higher rates across all obesity classifications, age and sex groups.

Ashley Skinner, a researcher and associate professor at Duke, told CNN this study should serve as a reminder "that obesity in children is not going away". "The good work that's being done isn't being done in vain", she said.

'We have to address everything'.


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